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NFC playoff picture: Rams have to win next week, wild cards TBD

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Ridiculous, I know, but it's worth taking a quick look at the NFC playoff picture while fan enthusiasm is running so hot.

The picture is actually pretty clear for the Rams: beat Seattle in week 17 and win the NFC West or lose and start thinking about the draft.

The NFC Wild Card spots are a still a little shaky, and though it seems likely the NFC West champs would play the New Orleans Saints, that could change. A New Orleans win tonight guarantees them a playoff berth, but they're playing the Falcons. A Falcons win this week and a Saints win next week over Tampa Bay, still means that the Saints would travel to St. Louis to open the playoffs. A loss to the Falcons in week 16 followed by a loss to Tampa Bay would mean that the Rams face either the Buccaneers or Green Bay. A Packers win over the Bear next week and a Tampa Bay win over the Saints gives the Rams a date with Green Bay. A Bears win and a Tampa win means that the Rams would play the Bucs, in what could be an enticing matchup for a Rams team that came so close to beating Tampa Bay earlier this season. A Saints win in week 17 means that the Rams will play the Saints, regardless of the outcome in Green Bay.

Got that?